Friday, 16 September 2011

seriously, just call me nicholas

I went to the Wellcome Foundation's excellent museum the other day. In it is a picture by AC Hemming who I have not been able to find out much about. This isn't it, but the Hemming picture is clearly based on this one. It is of a Welshman called William Price and I have been able to find out about Price, haven't I just.

He was a doctor and lived to 93, and his last words were 'Bring me a glass of champagne'. Seems like the sort of doctor you'd want, except he also wandered around in fox-skin hat and red clothes with green letters embroidered onto them. Why? I am not sure, but he was an arch druid and the things can't have been unconnected.

He thought the world was made by God out of a snake's egg by a supreme father god. It wasn't. When he was in trouble for being a Chartist, which was earlier in his life, he fled to France dressed as a woman. He was still sane then, or sane enough.

He married Gwellian in a druidic ceremony and they called their first child Iesu Grist. He died very young, and Price cremated him on a hill near Llantrisant. The authorities didn't like it (nothing has changed) but he said there was nothing in law to forbid him and he fought a law case, which he won. He also sold three hundred commemorative medals featuring the cosmic egg and the snake that laid it. Win win.

He had another son he called Iesu Grist. He believed this one was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Maybe he thought that about the first one too. Well, the first one wasn't, and the second wasn't either. He also had a girl called Penelopen (he was Welsh, rather than dyslexic).

After William died, his wife married a road inspector, became a Christian and renamed Iesu Grist 'Nicholas'.

There's more, of course. You might think he was a nutter, but 20,000 people went to his funeral. Will you be so lucky?

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